See the nutcrackers! Need a winter day trip, and you can’t wait until sledding season finally starts at the local Sno-Parks? Try this festive (and free) holiday outing right in the city.
Start at the Ballard Nutcracker House in the 9000 block of Loyal Ave NW. You can’t miss the 15-foot-tall, 700-pound nutcracker standing guard at the end of the driveway. The giant fiberglass figures came from the “Nutcracker” collaboration of the Pacific Northwest Ballet and Maurice Sendak (yes, the author of “Where the Wild Things Are”). The huge nutcrackers and other figures had been displayed in the lobby of McCaw Hall each December for 30 years. When the ballet switched to the George Balanchine version of “The Nutcracker” in 2015, the figures went home with John Carrington, PNB’s principal harpist.
After seeing the nutcrackers, head a mile east on Northwest 85th Street to Olympic Manor. You’ll know you’re at the right place when you see the spinning Santas. This development of low-slung mid-century homes is famous for its neighborhood lights. It was way better than any of the ticketed drive-throughs we saw last year. You can drive through the streets, or better yet, park and walk for a better look at the wonderful lights.
Wear your masks, keep your distance and happy holidays!
This updated story was first published on Dec. 10, 2020.
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